Pritchard, V. E, Malone, S. A, Burgoyne, K., Heron-Delaney, M., Bishop, D. V & Hulme, C. (2019). Stage 2 registered report: There is no appreciable relationship between strength of hand preference and language ability in 6-to 7-year-old children. Wellcome Open Research,4(81), Z. Nyakoojo. 1-18. United Kingdom: Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, University College London. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15254.1
Background: Weak or inconsistent hand preference has been postulated to be a risk factor for developmental language delay. Following on from our Registered Stage 1 report this study assessed the extent to which variations in language skills are associated with the strength of hand preference. Methods: Data are drawn from a large sample (N = 569) of 6- to 7-year-old children unselected for ability, assessed at two time points, 6 months apart. Hand preference was assessed using the Quantitative Hand Preference (QHP) task and five uni-manual motor tasks. Language skills (expressive and receptive vocabulary, receptive grammar, and morphological awareness) were assessed with standardized measures. Results: We found QHP scores did not distinguish children with weaker language skills from those with stronger language skills and the correlation between QHP scores and language ability was negligible in this study. Hand preference on the QHP task was significantly stronger among right-handed than left-handed children and left-handed children were typically inconsistent in the hand used across different tasks. Conclusions: The findings presented here fail to provide any support for the theory that weak cerebral lateralisation (as assessed here by the QHP task) places children at risk of language difficulties.
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